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Apple bursts past Nokia to become world's largest smartphone maker

Just four years after releasing the iPhone, Apple has managed to pass Nokia and fend off a challenge from Samsung in the second quarter on its way to a new milestone as the world's No. 1 smartphone maker in terms of volume.

Strategy Analytics published its second quarter findings early Friday, declaring Apple the leader of the smartphone market with 18 percent market share. Global smartphone shipments grew 76 percent annually to reach 110 million units in the June quarter, the firm said.

Apple became the world's largest phone vendor in terms of revenue in the first quarter of this year, but this marks the first time that the iPhone maker has taken the top spot for units shipped.

Some analysts had predicted that Samsung would take the crown with Apple in second place, but, according to Friday's report, the Korean electronics giant sold 19.2 million smartphones in the second quarter, not enough to catch Apple.

Source: Strategy Analytics

Samsung's growth story was still an impressive success, as it sold just 3.1 million smartphones in the year ago quarter. "Samsung’s shipments grew a huge 520 percent annually, for 17 percent global smartphone market share. Samsung’s Galaxy portfolio has proven popular, especially the high-tier S2 Android model," said Strategy Analytics Director Neil Mawston.

Friday's numbers come on the heels of a report from IDC that found Apple had grown 141.8 percent year over year, more than 12 times the global market growth rate of 11.3 percent.

Apple stunned Wall Street when it released its quarterly results last week. The company revealed that it had sold 20.34 million iPhones and 9.25 million iPads in the June quarter.